THE MASS OF THE ’40S VS. OF TODAY

Was no “here’s lookin’ at you” from the altar, for example

Dominus Vobiscum: Notes from a massgoer's underground

A CATHOLIC LAMENT, broadly stated:

1. The Latin was mysterious, signalling the (bona fide) mysteries of the Eucharist, vs. today’s liturgical populism, downgrading the mystical and downplaying the sacral.

2. The priest saying Mass was a functionary, reflecting the ex opere operato aspect of what he did.

3. The priest at mass was (presumably) a priest at prayer, absorbed in that aspect, which meant he did not look at or survey people, even when turning to them to pronounce a blessing or solicit response.

4. As functionary or performer of the sacred ritual, he was severely limited. Ritual reigned, ad libbing unheard of.

5. People looked forward and saw the priest facing in the same direction, a crucial element in the transaction but not its focus. (Important point here and now, when the priest has become the focus, people look at him, there being…

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